ITG ports EduWave e-learning app to Linux

Integrated Technology Group (ITG) is porting its EduWave e-learning application and content management system to Linux in an attempt to give its customers more choice and tap into the open source operating system’s growing popularity within the Middle East.

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By  Matthew Southwell Published  November 24, 2003

|~||~||~|Integrated Technology Group (ITG) is porting its EduWave e-learning application and content management system to Linux in an attempt to give its customers more choice and tap into the open source operating system’s growing popularity within the Middle East.

“Linux is an operating system that is picking up traffic nowadays and it is only natural for us to consider it. Many of our clients and potential clients have been studying the possibility of adopting Linux as their prime operating system and from that point of view it was only natural for us to do so too,” says Walid Tahabsem, chief executive officer of ITG.

“Another factor in moving to Linux is that it makes our offer better financially because the overall offering will be cheaper,” he adds.
While the interest shown in Linux by the Middle East’s private sector is strong and encouraged ITG to investigate the open source OS, it is the government sector’s growing affiliation with the operating system that has turned the software house’s development plans into action. For instance, the Bahraini government has recently announced that it is deploying Linux and the Jordanian government, which already uses EduWave as its core national e-learning platform, is also meant to be considering the open source operating system.

“It is critical that EduWave be made available on Linux,” says Tahabsem. “Government education authorities in the Middle East and elsewhere are evaluating it and in many cases will be adopting open source platforms as they build national e-government and e-education initiatives,” he explains.

Scheduled for availability early next year, the Linux-based version of the online learning solution and content management system is being developed with the help of IBM and STS subsidiary, BusinessOne. The former is providing ITG’s development team with resources, training and facilities to develop, support and update EduWave on Linux, while BusinessOne is contributing its WebSphere middleware skills to the project.

“The porting process is underway and over the next couple of months we will really focus on it and we will have it [EduWave on Linux] ready by the beginning of next year,” confirms Tahabsem. “IBM will provide the tools and the know how for our team. From a business perspective IBM and ITG will also go into joint marketing initiatives to target the education sector to promote EduWave,” he explains.
Although some of the Jordanian development company’s software engineers have been reluctant to embrace Linux, preferring instead the J2EE and .Net platforms ITG already uses, Tahabsem says this has been taken into account when building the team.

“Sometimes it is difficult to move a developer from one environment in which he is a master in and take him to another. On the other hand there are developers that like to move between environments and get more experience. However, what we have done is take care of the team leaders and use those that are 100% behind it [on the project]. Also, with the proper training they [the unconvinced developers] will understand the shift to Linux,” he explains.

Moving forward, ITG hopes to have closed three large Linux-based EduWave deals by the end of next year. Then the company may turn its attention to its enterprise resource planning (ERP) application, WaveERP, and investigate the potential benefits of porting it to the open source operating system.

“When you want to port a product to another platform you need a complete plan that covers everything... However, while our focus is on EduWave for the time being, we will consider porting it [WaveERP] to Linux,” says Tahabsem.||**||

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